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Grow Your Own Spinach Indoors or Out!

Written by Hilary on October 2nd, 2006

The Spinach scare was a few weeks ago, but I kept thinking, if you really love Spinach, grow it yourself!

For areas that don’t get hard winters:
Now is the perfect time to grow it because it likes cool weather and it won’t bolt the way it does in the spring.

For areas that DO get hard winters:
Grow it indoors! It can be done very successfully and here is how:

Sowing:
Because you will be growing this indoors, I would pick a couple of varieties of Spinach that are more resistant to diseases.

For crinkle-leaf (savoyed) Spinach choose:
‘Indian Summer’
‘Melody’
‘Grandstand’

For Smooth-leaf Spinach choose:
‘Hector’
‘Nordic IV’
‘Olympia’
‘Space’

Spinach has a deep taproot so pick a container that can allow that root to grow and is around 10 to 12 inches deep.

Mix some soil. A good mix for indoor vegetables would be 1 part potting soil, 1 part vermiculite, 1 part peat, and 1 part perlite.

Plant Spinach seeds 1/2″ deep. Spinach seeds germinate best in soils around 65°F-70°F. Germination takes 7-14 days.

Lighting:
Spinach will need 6-8 hours of bright light. A bright room or an enclosed, sunny porch where temperatures will not dip down to freezing would be a good place to place your pots.

Just make sure the area you put your containers stays cool! Spinach will bolt if it gets too hot, so the area should be around 65°F-70°F. If needed, get a few grow lights to help supplement your plants. They are super easy and fast to set up.

Thinning:
Once germinated, thin Spinach to one seedling every 3″ or so.

Watering:
Spinach needs to be evenly moist throughout its growing season so monitor it fairly closely.

Fertilizing:
After your seeds have germinated and you have thinned your plants, Feed every two weeks and use a balanced organic fertilizer for best results like a 15-15-15.

Harvest:
Spinach is ready to harvest when the leaves are big enough to pick.

Harvest spinach by either cutting the leaves away from the plant or by pulling the entire plant out.

Spinach leaves benefit from cooling immediately after harvest. Wash the Spinach leaves in cold water.

Storage:
Spinach leaves can be stored 10-14 days, but Spinach is sensitive to ethylene gases so do not store it with fruits and vegetables that produce ethylene gas.

Spinach also freezes well, so you can always consider that option.

The neat thing about growing Spinach indoors is that you can grow more than 1 crop if you want.

So if you really miss Spinach, give this a try!

Come on over to Weekend Gardener Web Magazine for more gardening tips!

 

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11 Comments so far ↓

  1. Anonymous says:

    Thanks a lot for this, it’s just the info I’ve been looking for.

  2. Hilary says:

    You’re most welcome!

  3. Anonymous says:

    After cutting leaves away, will the plant continue to harvest thruoughout the year indoors?

  4. Hilary says:

    The two types of spinach are cool season or broadleaf, and warm season or New Zealand spinach, which is entirely different taxonomically from broadleaf spinach but similar in taste and appearance.

    New Zealand spinach welcomes long, hot days and will yield well until frost. New Zealand spinach is particularly suited to small container vegetable gardening because it grows back after cutting, unlike the cool season varieties.

    So in answer to your question, yes, some spinach varieties do grow back.

    If, however, you want to grow cool weather spinach, or what some people refer to as true spinach, you can sow seeds every week in different containers. That way as you harvest, you have another container growing your next harvest. Successive plantings like this work really well.

    I hope this answers your question.

  5. D.R. George says:

    How does one obtain spinach seeds for next year from the plant? Are they in the flowers?

  6. Hilary says:

    Hi D.R. George,

    Yes, spinach flowers are inconspicuous, yellow-green, and about 1/8 of an inch (3-4 mm) in diameter.

    The flowers mature into a small, hard, dry, lumpy fruit cluster that is about 1/4 of a inch (5-10 mm) across containing several seeds.

    When the fruit is dry, you can harvest the seed and store it.

    For more about seed saving and how to do it – read: How To Save Seeds

    Our free monthly online gardening magazine has all kinds of helpful articles, tips, and step by step tutorials: Weekend Gardener Web Magazine

  7. Anonymous says:

    I have a hard time germinating spinach seeds. Did I get a bad batch. Any tips

  8. Hilary says:

    Hi,

    There could be two reasons why your seeds are not germinating properly.

    1. You don't have good seed

    2. You soil just isn't warm enough to germinate the seed

    You can test how viable your seed is by taking 10 seeds and placing them on a wetted paper towel.

    Fold the towel over and place it inside a ziplock bag in a warm place, but not in direct sun.

    After 3 days, start checking every day to see how many have germinated.

    If you have poor germination, then you know it's your seed.

    Some people deliberately pre-sprout seeds as you would for a germination test, then very carefully transplant the sprouted seed when the roots are showing, and cover them with a thin layer of fine soil out in the garden.

    Now, if it's a soil temperature problem, you can get a soil thermometer for cheap and simply don't plant until your soil is warm enough to germinate the seed, which is at or above 60° F (16° C).

    More about soil thermometers and soil temperature

    Hope this helps with your problem!

  9. Andy says:

    Thanks for the information on spinach. Coincidentally I sowed some spinach seeds outdoor today before reading your blog. I am in Northern California. I don’t know what the outcome will be. By the way, typically how long it takes for the plant from germination to mature for eating?

  10. Hilary says:

    Hi Andy,

    Well, for fall spinach, some early maturing cultivars are ready for harvest 50-75 days after planting.

    Typically you want the maturity date to be about 1-2 weeks after the first anticipated fall frost for your growing area.

    Spinach plants can be left in
    the garden after light frosts and they will easily over-winter for an early spring crop if the plants have formed at least 4 to 5 true leaves.

    I don’t know how far north you are, but if you want to over-winter your spinach, mulch them heavily and remove the mulch after the snow melts in the spring.

    Hope this helps!

  11. Christina says:

    My husband and I are crazy – we keep the heat set at about 55 during the winter so we can crank the air on in the summer (we live in the hot south). While we are comfortable for the most part, would we have a hard time growing spinach indoors at this temp? It’s not always 55 indoors; outdoor temp plus things like running the dryer or stove heat up our small apartment. What do you think?

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